people's choice

The Best Adult Coloring Books, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

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Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve covered the best productivity books, the best cookbooks, and the best art books, here we’re zeroing in on the best adult coloring books on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)

Best Overall Adult Coloring Book

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book
$10 at Amazon

“So, you may have read about the new trend in ‘Adult Coloring Books.’ THIS is THE book that started it. There are plenty of publishers who have tried to emulate what this book offers, and trust me, NO other book compares to Johanna Basford’s coloring books. I think one observation almost fully sums up the quality of this coloring book - it has a DUST JACKET. No detail has been overlooked with this book. The dust jack is even printed on the inside in case you want to color it. There is meticulous detail and care put into every place of this book. It isn’t childish at all, it’s elegantly done. The paper quality is FANTASTIC. Thick with a very slight (perfect) texture. The pages are not transparent, and the texture makes it easy to use colored pencils on… though, you could use pastels, paint or even markers probably. I cannot express how much I RECOMMEND this book!!!! I knew it was arriving yesterday, and ALL DAY I looked forward to coming home and coloring it. I hadn’t colored in YEARS — I think that’s going to change! My husband chuckled at me, and even told me I did a ‘Good job of staying in the lines.’ He was being playfully condescending, but I think he was secretly jealous.”

Best Adult Coloring Books for Colored Pencils

Disney Dreams Collection Thomas Kinkade Studios Coloring Book
$12 at Amazon

“Amazing book!!! The pages are thick but can’t handle markers. I love the page sizes and think they are just right especially for the amount of detail on each page. They are matte and not glossy pages. Great book for all ages.”

Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Animal Designs
$5 at Amazon

“This is a really fun adult coloring book. Unlike a lot of the animal based books, the images of the animals in this one are drawn in a mosaic style that allows for maximum creativity.”

Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns
$6 at Amazon

“Love it! Bought a handful of books as I’m just now getting into coloring. I almost didn’t get this book, thinking I’d like the others better. This has instantly became my favorite! Different levels of detailing from page to page so that you have options to fit your mood. Pages thick enough to use gel pens and not bleed through to the next page. LOTS of pages, so many to choose from. Book has easily 2 to 3 times more pages than other books I’ve bought. Interesting, different patterns.”

Best Adult Coloring Book for Gel Pens

Adult Coloring Book: Butterflies and Flowers
$5 at Amazon

“I ordered this coloring book due to the usual complexity with coloring butterflies. The pictures are beautiful and have the complexity I was looking for, however, some of the pictures leave a lot of white space. I prefer to have the entire page colored and feel like some of the pictures are wasting space. The pictures are single sided which is good if you are using gel pens to color with. I wish there were more pages and that the entire page was used for the pictures but overall this is a nice coloring book.”

Best Adult Coloring Book for Markers

Mandala Coloring Book For Adults
$20 at Amazon

“The paper is simply superb- it is thick like card stock, with NO bleeding through, even if I layer markers. Only drawback per the paper- the paper will pill a little if I get it too wet, so I’m just uber careful to let it dry longer. Another plus- I can go over an area, and overlap, but it comes out smooth. No telling where you change direction. Another plus- the spiral binding and hardcover front and back mean coloring away from a hard surface like a table, desk or lapdesk. It also has a slight gloss, which I LOVE, making my Tombow double ended markers glide like a dream. Every mandala I color in this one just flows. It has quickly become my go to book, as my other dozen books from other companies - though most have pretty decent paper - seem subpar. I found the best and won’t waste money on anymore less expensive ones. You get what you pay for!”

Best Adult Coloring Books With Single-Page Designs

A Coloring Book for Adults Featuring Mandalas and Henna Inspired Flowers, Animals, and Paisley Patterns
$8 at Amazon

“I totally loved this coloring book, I like to draw and paint but I had been uninspired with no ideas about what to draw so this book helped me to continue doing art in other way; some designs are too detailed and small but is not a big problem. I travel all the time and have to wait long hours (restaurants/airport) by myself so this activity is a good way to enjoy your time while being alone. Also is great if you play your favorite music while coloring this book and there is plenty of space if you want to draw something to add your personal touch.”

Adult Coloring Book: Designs
$4 at Amazon

“If you enjoy coloring different types of designs, you should enjoy this book. I’ve used pencils, gel pens and brush pens on these designs. The gel pens and brush pens bleed through a little but that doesn’t bother me since I tear my pages out and color on a clipboard. The pages in this book are single sided so if you want to keep the pages intact and use gel pens or markers, just put a piece of cardstock behind the page. The only thing I don’t like is that the ink in the design can smear.”

Best Adult Coloring Book With Perforated Paper

Good Vibes Coloring Book
$8 at Amazon

“Good vibes for sure! This book is nothing short of adorable. If you can’t find something to make you smile in here, well you’re out of luck! This book is thirty pages of pure enjoyment! I color for anxiety and stress and it helps so very much. This is full of nothing but positive vibes and uplifting quotes. The pages are nice and thick and on the back you’ll find these great uplifting quotes and that’s one of my favorite things about this brand. You really can’t go wrong. The pages can be easily torn out which is also a plus for me. I dread having to pull at pages that just won’t come out so by adding that little dotted line they’re just making your life a little easier. There are five pages enhanced with coloring tips. So if you’re new at this don’t worry. You’ll feel like a pro in no time! This book is a ten in my book and I would recommend it to everyone. I even ordered one for my best friend!”

Best Spiral-Bound Adult Coloring Books

Action Publishing Coloring Book
$19 at Amazon

“I have been working pretty exclusively in Johanna Basford coloring books. I was looking for something a little different and most other books I’ve picked up I’ve been disappointed with. I bought this book and I.LOVE.IT. The paper is a thick, good quality, and very good for blending with colored pencils. I love that the patterns are printed on only one side so there is no bleed through on the opposite side. I love the plastic divider, not only to save my place in the book, but to protect the next page when using markers.”

Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book for Adults
$13 at Amazon

“As an Johanna Bamford fan I preordered this book. It does not disappoint. The pages are high quality like her other books Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. The artwork follows a similar pattern as well. The book has hidden treasure, pirate ships, whales, fish, mermaids, seashells, seahorses, jellyfish, dolphins, and every other thing I imagined I would see under the sea as a kid. The end of the book has a four page, two-sided, fold out. It is by far my favorite of her books. I have since ordered 4 more copies for each of my girls. They are enjoying it as well. For reference, the pages are two sided. I color with pencils. I do not use fineliners, sharpies, or any other markers. I did test a page, and they do bleed through on the paper in the book. I may use them to color the cover, but none of the markers I have were safe on the actual pages of the book if I colored over the area more than a time or two.”

Best Swear-Word Adult Coloring Books

A Swear Word Coloring Book for Adults: Sweary AF: F*ckity F*ck F*ck F*ck
$7 at Amazon

“I love it. The other review hated it, because it was full of cuss words. That is kind of the point. I look forward to using it. I got it to take to my dad’s cancer treatments. He has stage 4 stomach cancer and I sit with him at the chemo treatments. This is exactly what I need. Because I can’t tell well meaning people who send me prayers what I really want to say. But I can color a bunch of F***s and C***s.”

Go F*ck Yourself, I’m Coloring: Swear Word Coloring Book
$6 at Amazon

“Unfortunately, the only adult coloring books I can obtain locally are of butterflies and other foo-foo nonsense. THIS, however, allows me to clearly and colorfully illustrate my dislike for people in a way that no other medium quite manages. Would definitely recommend this to anyone who’s packing a box of stuff to ship forward to deployed service members.”

Swear Word Coloring Book: The Jungle Adult Coloring Book
$5 at Amazon

“I got this for my dearest friend who is staying with me. He is snarky, quick-witted, sarcastic, creative, intellectual, highly cultured, and a proud vulgarian. He also had PTSD and has been battling anxiety/depression issues on top of that, so he has been crocheting and coloring for therapeutic purposes. When I saw this book, I knew it would be right up his alley. It came today and he was so happy!! He absolutely loves it, and seeing his face light up, and watching him giggle and exclaim over the different pages was priceless. This is a real winner. High quality paper doesn’t tear, and there is great variety in the art styles and phrases. Smiles for days!”

Calm the F*ck Down: An Irreverent Adult Coloring Book
$5 at Amazon

“This book summarizes my life. The day it arrived in the mail, my 12 year old daughter was having a hysterical fit over the screen of her iPhone not working correctly. I looked at her face, looked at the book, looked at her face again, looked at the book again. And all was right with the world. I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to describe how awesome the drawings are in this book. Sometimes I want something intricate to focus on while the world around me is being annoying. Sometimes I want something quick and easy. And some days I just want to color in pictures with silly words. This book allows me to do all of the above. I can’t even begin to pick a favorite picture. There are so many incredible choices. They work well with pens and pencils. The pictures are cheeky and fun. There’s something to suit every mood swing. Well almost every move swing - I’m not sure about the full spectrum of tween girl mood swings yet. I seriously want to find the author and give her a hug. And maybe buy her a drink. Because she gets it. I already ordered the next book in the series - and I know I will love it too.
This gives me great joy to color. If this matches your sense of humor - then you need this book”

Fucking Adorable - Cute Critters with Foul Mouths
$5 at Amazon

“These are some of the cutest critters to color. What’s better than adorable animals with filthy mouths? Nothing.”

Best Motivational Adult Coloring Books

Adult Coloring Books Good vibes
$6 at Amazon

“Love this coloring book! It is so much fun to color in and most pics aren’t too extremely detailed. I think the thickness of the paper is fine, but I use colored pencils. Maybe not suitable for the gel pens though. It would be nice to have the perforated strip for tearing out if want to, but it doesn’t personally bother me that much. These are all really fun coloring pages and great inspiring quotes.”

Make Life Your Bitch: Motivational adult coloring book (Midnight Edition)
$5 at Amazon

“I have been on a medical leave from work for about a month and quite literally have been losing my mind from boredom. I remembered how much I colored, drew and painted when I was a kid…I remembered how coloring kept me sane while I was stuck at unbearable family member’s homes. So, I thought I’d give it a shot and I am glad I did. I bought a big pack of Sharpies and I have been coloring my days away, in-between overspending on Amazon, of course! Haha. Anyway, I swear like a sailor and this doesn’t offend me one bit. It is cute and I hope to find more.”

Adult Coloring Book Designs: Stress Relief Coloring Book
$5 at Amazon

“I have several different coloring books and this book is good if you just want something basic to color in. The pages are not perforated so it’s not easy to tear them out of the book. And if your coloring with markers that bleed through pages, you’ll want to tear out the pages or remember to put a few sheets of paper under the one you’re coloring so you don’t ruin the picture underneath. The paper is thin and flat so if you like to use blending and shading techniques by layering colored pencils I don’t recommend this book. You’ll want something with heavier paper.”

Coloring Book for Adults: Amazing Swirls
$7 at Amazon

“Cute coloring pages. Not as high quality as some but would still recommend, especially for a beginner.”

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The Best Adult Coloring Books, According to Reviewers